Protection Orders Pt. 1 : Sometimes Tragedy Strikes
Domestic violence continues to be a big problem in Maine.In 2010 more than 6,000 protection from abuse orders were granted in our state. In many cases, protection orders help victims stay safe, but in some cases, they are just a piece of paper. Good friends don’t come along every day: best friends come along even less often.” Oh she was definitely my best friend, I’m probably not the only person that would say that,” said Kelly Gay about her friend Amy Bagley. For Gay, her best friend Amy was family.” She loved everybody, was concerned about everybody other than her self,” pointed out Gay. Kelly and Amy both worked at the Ridge View Community School in Dexter. It’s at that school, Kelly got the news she never wanted to hear. ” A friend of mine came in and said Amy didn’t show up, we don’t have any sub plans, can you help us with sub plans. I said you need to, I literally just left the room, I said you need to forget about the sub plans, something’s wrong,” recalled Gay. Amy Bagley was estranged from her husband, Steven Lake. ” I was concerned about Amy’s safety in leaving him before she told me I needed to be concerned about it,” said Gay. ” There were so many times in the last year of her life that she was hiding or would stay at a different house with the kids every night.”Amy was filled with fear, even though she had a protection order. ” It needs to be enforced, otherwise it’s just a piece of paper,” said Gay. Steven Lake violated his protection from abuse order more than once.” If the defendant makes contact or abuses the victim or in any way contacts the victim the police are able to intercede and arrest the offender,” said Penobscot County District Attorney, Chris Almy. Twice, Steven Lake went to jail, and both times he was bailed out within a few hours. ” You give him a $2,000 bail amount and he’s out in two hours. Just send him a bill and say hey if you send us a bill you won’t have to come to jail, because that just made him think that I’m above the law and there’s nothing you’re gonna do to stop me,” said Gay. District Attorney Chris Almy says generally people who violate protection orders do make bail, and that’s something he thinks could change. ” Right now, generally people are arrested and released right away, whereas if you had a holding order it might give everybody a chance to assess the situation more carefully,” said Almy. The second time Steven Lake bailed out, Amy’s fear grew. ” That was the first time I saw her just cry because she just said what do I have to do. She just knew he was going to do that, to kill her, she knew, ” said Gay.She was right. On June 13th, 2011, Steven Lake murdered Amy and their two kids, Coty and Monica. Lake also killed himself. ” It was his own weapons that he used that day,” said Gay. Almy points out, while a protection order can be a great tool, it’s not for everyone. ” In the extreme cases, no matter what you do, an abuser is gonna control the situation and sometimes that means eliminating the victim,” said Almy. For Kelly Gay, she’ll never get her best friend back.” She would want her story to be used to stop it from happening to the next person, and honestly, Coty and Monica would feel the same way, I really believe that they would,” said Gay. Gay tells us she’ll never stop talking about Amy, Coty and Monica, hoping someday more will be done to keep victims safe. Lawmakers are considering a bill to amend the Maine bail code to provide protection for the victim of a crime involving domestic violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call the state-wide hotline at 1-866-83-4-HELP.